Exploring Heterogeneity

Diana B. Petitti

in Meta-Analysis, Decision Analysis, and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Second edition

Published in print November 1999 | ISBN: 9780195133646
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199863761 | DOI:

Series: Monographs in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Exploring Heterogeneity

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The careful examination of heterogeneity is an important goal of systematic review and meta-analysis. This chapter explains why this is true. It begins with a description of the distinction between statistical heterogeneity and clinical heterogeneity. It delineates the limitations of tests of statistical heterogeneity and provides a framework for exploration of clinical heterogeneity. Stratification and meta-regression are explained as methods for exploring heterogeneity. The chapter ends with a discussion of the use of subgroup analysis in decision analysis and cost-effectiveness.

Keywords: systematic review; meta-analysis; heterogeneity; stratification; meta-regression; decision analysis; cost-effectiveness analysis; subgroup analysis

Chapter.  5461 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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